Emirates airlines hailed on Monday its tie-up with Qantas as a growth model, after the first flight of the Australian carrier to its new international hub in Dubai.
"This is certainly a growth model... for Emirates and for Qantas," Emirates president Tim Clark told reporters in Dubai, after he flew from Sydney along with Qantas CEO Alan Joyce and the Australian Minister of Transport Anthony Albanese.
"Of course we do expect to grow the income out of the Oceania," said the boss of the Dubai-owned carrier, indicating that Emirates has been increasing flights to Australia and New Zealand.
Joyce remained upbeat about the joint venture with Emirates, one of the world's fastest growing airlines.
"It has been an amazing day," he said.
"Our passengers were extremely excited about this partnership," he said, describing the mood on the first flight to Dubai.
Signup to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
By using Dubai instead of Singapore as a hub, average journey times on Qantas flights to Europe have been cut by more than two hours.
The tie-up, approved last week by Australia's competition watchdog, allows the two airlines to combine operations for an initial period of five years, including coordinating ticket prices and schedules.
The alliance is seen as vital to the sustainability of Qantas, which last year posted its first annual deficit since privatisation in 1995 due to tougher competition and high fuel costs for its international arm.
Qantas will also use Emirates Concourse A, the first world's facility dedicated to serving the Airbus A380 superjumbos. Dubai airport is now the world's second busiest airport for international passenger throughput.
For Emirates customers, the deal opens up Qantas's Australian domestic network of more than 50 destinations.
Two Airbus A380s from both carriers made a dramatic tandem flight over the Sydney Harbour Bridge Sunday to launch the new partnership, hailed by Qantas as a "seismic shift" in aviation.